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MARKET RASEN, United Kingdom

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2011.1.2-04 | Award Amount: 4.89M | Year: 2012

ADAPTAWHEAT will show how flowering time variation can be exploited for the genetic improvement of the European wheat crop to optimise adaptation and performance in the light of predicted climate change. It will test current hypotheses that postulate specific changes in ear emergence and the timing and duration of developmental phases, which are thought of as components of ear emergence, will improve wheat productivity. Precise genetic stocks varying in specific flowering time elements and subjected to genotyping and characterisation with diagnostic markers for key flowering time genes will be used to test these hypotheses. They will be phenotyped at the molecular (transcript abundance), physiological (growth stage dissection) and agronomic (yield components) levels in multiple field trials located at sites in Europe that represent regional agricultural diversity and at non European locations that have mega environments of relevance. Controlled environment experiments will investigate specific environmental interactions including day length, ambient temperature, and heat stress. Data analysis will aid the construction of new wheat flowering models that can be used to refine existing hypotheses. They will allow standing genetic variation for flowering time in European germplasm to be deployed more efficiently in wheat breeding programmes. This knowledge will be used to inform searches for specific phenotypic and molecular variants in diverse and non adapted wheat germplasm panels provided by consortium members. Vital novel genetic variation will be efficiently imported into the germplasm of European wheat breeders. The project will deliver new diagnostic markers for genotyping, molecular reporters for novel breeding selection strategies and the tools and knowledge necessary for a combined physiology and genomics led predictive wheat breeding programme. A conduit for these outcomes will be three SMEs, who will exploit the tools developed to deliver these outcomes.

Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 225.97K | Year: 2011

This proposal for LINK funded project will build on a solid base of work currently underway, funded through existing LINK programmes, BBSRC, directly by industry, the Scottish Government and the NIAB Trust fund. The proposed study will seek to initiate a better understanding of wheat root growth, morphology and functional relationships with nutrient and water uptake. Methods to describe roots in a diverse range of winter wheat types will be implemented in controlled glasshouse conditions and in the field. The project will form the foundation for improving nutrient sequestration and conversion in this important UK crop through initiation of pre-breeding and development of ideal root ideotypes suitable for use in current and future wheat production. The consortium will concentrate on efficient or enhanced use of resources, especially nitrogen and phosphate and will consider interactions with water availability. In addition, the importance of interactions with beneficial mycorrhizal fungi on nutrient sequestration and the negative impact of soil-borne pathogenic fungi on susceptible genotypes will be considered under field conditions. Finally, the potential impact of agrochemical seed coats on root performance will be assessed. Overall, research in root biology leading to increases in nutrient uptake efficiency will contribute to reductions in diffuse pollution and will substantially reduce green house gas emission due a reduction in the use of nitrogen fertilisers in wheat cultivation

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 616.50K | Year: 2010

There is a close link between the rotational intensity of OSR, reduced yield and the presence of novel pathogens. Results clearly demonstrate Koch’s postulates for both Olpidium brassicae and Pyrenochaeta sp, and the impact of Pyrenochaeta sp on growth of oilseed rape. This project brings together novel molecular pathogen detection methodology with industry led variety screening, agronomic research and knowledge transfer capability. Specific activities in the technical approach include a combination of sampling of commercial and, field trials (both variety and fungicide/biological control agent) with appropriate sampling, assessment and data collection, and lab based qPCR analysis of samples. This project builds on existing primary research but covers areas not previously investigated. Innovative aspects will include the assessment of varietal tolerance to novel soil pathogens to unlock yield improvements of OSR. The control work will provide detail of techniques to alleviate the problem.Recent development of qPCR detection methods will facilitate this project enabling direct comparisons of pathogen levels in roots. The project builds on existing expertise to develop novel plant breeding and agronomy based solutions (opening up new markets) to address the emerging issue. These routes are suitable for developing a new robust IPM based strategy for dealing with these novel pathogens and increasing oilseed rape yields.

Agency: GTR | Branch: BBSRC | Program: | Phase: Research Grant | Award Amount: 324.05K | Year: 2016

Nitrogen fertiliser is essential to sustain wheat yields but is also an important determinant of grain quality. This is because nitrogen is required for the synthesis of grain proteins, with the gluten proteins forming the major grain protein fraction. About 40% of the wheat produced in the UK is used for food production, particularly for making bread and other baked products. Wheat is also widely used as a functional ingredient in many processed foods, while bread wheat and imported durum wheats are used to make noodles and pasta, respectively. The gluten proteins are essential for these uses, providing visco-elastic properties to dough. Consequently, the content and quality of the grain proteins affect the processing quality, with a minimum of 13% being specified for the Chorleywood Breadmaking Process (CBP) which is used for over 80% of the factory produced bread in the UK. The requirement of nitrogen to produce wheat for bread making is also above the optimum required for yield, and farmers may apply up to 50 kg N/Ha above the yield optimum to achieve 13% protein (2.28% N). This is costly with nitrogen fertiliser contributing significantly to crop production, and may also contribute to a greater nitrogen footprint in the farmed environment. It may be possible to reduce the requirement for breadmaking wheats, to a limited extent, by optimising the efficiency of nitrogen uptake and use within the wheat plant. However, this will only have limited benefits and a more viable long-term solution is to develop new types of wheat and processing systems which will allow the use of lower protein contents for bread making. We will therefore identify types of wheat which have good and stable breadmaking quality at low grain protein. Genetic analyses of the trait will provide molecular markers to assist wheat breeders while studies of underpinning mechanisms will allow new selection procedures to be used to identify germplasm and select for quality in breeding programmes. We will also work with millers and bakers to establish optimum conditions for processing of wheats with lower protein contents.

Agency: GTR | Branch: Innovate UK | Program: | Phase: Collaborative Research & Development | Award Amount: 442.98K | Year: 2010

Molecular Improvement of Disease Resistance in Barley (MIDRIB) describes the development and application of novel Genomic Selection technology for breeding new varieties. The primary aim is to develop new competitive varieties for the UK, with increased polygenic disease resistance, which will allow reductions in pesticide applications. The approach will develop innovative statistical models linking phenotypic data with high density molecular SNP marker analysis. The partners are Limagrain, NIAB, UCL and The James Hutton Institute. MIDRIB is a 5 year project.

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